Saturday, May 13, 2017

Further Campaign Notes On Adapting The I3 Pharoah Adventure For Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea or Your Old School Sword & Sorcery Campaigns

"Your skin was blistered all day before the hot desert sun sank slowly below the horizon. Now, the deep blue mists of the desert night swirl about you in the lazy wind. The cool night air seems to soak up the heat of the endless desert sands. You shiver as you and your friends huddle around your campfire, glancing nervously at the giant pyramid in the distance. There is an eerie and mysterious feeling about that place.

Gradually, the winds change direction, carrying a thin streak of white mist that swirls into the shape of a faceless man dressed in ancient robes. The moonlight seems to shine through him as he raises his arms toward the pyramid and speaks.
"I am the Pharoah Amun-re, son of Takosh-re of the House of Mo-pelar. I am now only a shadow who has walked these sands for a thousand years in search of wise and mighty warriors to break into my pyramid and plunder my tomb."

The winds shift again; his robes begin to swirl about him and he fades back into the mists and winds. Why does this desert spirit want you to plunder his tomb? Can you survive the challenges of a pyramid that has stood for a thousand years? Or are you being led into a trap?"
This is how I3 Pharoah begins from 1983 by Tracy & Laura Hickman what is interesting to note is that according to Wiki;" It combines three previously published individual modules: Pharaoh, Oasis of the White Palm, and Lost Tomb of Martek. " Its also one of the more pulp driven adventures to come out of the transition era of classic TSR. The module is for PC's level five to seven which means that this is going to be an adventure designed for mid ranking upper tier PC's for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  Don't let this adventure fool you it can be quite deadly.

Alright I've done quite a bit with I3 Pharaoh  in the past but I wanted to revisit it again. This is one of those modules that I've run numerous times & yes I've even adapted it in the past for Call of Cthulhu & White Wolf''s Mummy The Resurrection. Its that good in my humble opinion. But I've been thinking about adventures I3,I4,&I5 which were collected as the Desert of Desolation series mega module. In many people's opinions are some of the best desert adventures for AD&D.  But what I want to do is adapt them to AS&SH but there's a few things that need to be tweaked with the monster ecology of this adventure. Now once again what I'm saying isn't to disrespect the original work of the module's authors but to adapt it to my home Hyperborean campaign.

"While in the desert, the characters encounter the spirit of Amun-Re, a pharaoh cursed to wander the desert until his tomb is robbed" Right off the bat there's something very interesting about the mummies of Hyperborea of AS&SH even the good ones will turn evil after a few centuries. So what's going to happen with Amun-Re?? Well, according to the monster entry these mummies are called the 'sons of Nyarlathotep'. They're mummies who retain intelligence & their former will but they crave power & domination. In I3" Amun-Re begs the PCs to remove his staff of ruling and Star Gem from his tomb to break his curse. The tomb was built to be thief-proof and has so far lived up to its reputation." So are the PC's being set up? I think so! The idea here is that even though Amun-Re was a Hyperborean royal personage, godlike pharaoh, etc. his people locked him away. But he's had a nice little bargain going with 
Nyarlathotep over the centuries. But what about those other star gems? We'll get to those next!

Nyarlathotep in "The Dweller in Darkness" by August Derleth.

All this time he's been looking for & finding suitable dupes to 'free' him. Each of the 'star gems' is actually an artifact similar to the shining Trapezohedron from the HP Lovecraft novella the Haunter in the Dark. The star gems allow Amun-Re to gain a few brain addled minions for say a paltry human life time. Because only the strongest, most cunning, etc are going to make it through the mazes of death and destruction that Amun- Re. This makes them perfect chattel for the former prince, puppet, etc of the soul of the Outer God. Now to fill in some of the lesser bits & pieces about I3's Hyperborean rulers & their lesser peoples I used
"Kingdom of Nithia" (1991) for the Known World. There's just enough weird magic & occult technology to help fill in some of the gaps necessary to bridge this adventure into the inner parts of the Diamond Desert of Hyperborea.

Why use
"Kingdom of Nithia" (1991) for this bridging because it enables you to use the neat set up that I found called Deserts of Desolation by Joaquin Menchaca Simply take one of the cities at the edge of the Diamond desert & change its technology level to classic era Alexandria & you've got your equivalent for a Hyperborean Mystara style city to go! But wait there's more because as a DM you can branch this whole campaign fodder approach to Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes From North Wind Adventures. Ghost Ship could be hooked in as a side adventure enabling the PC's to skirt into the wilderness further of the Diamond Desert location.

But this whole white hot mess could be hooked up with The Lost City (Dungeons and Dragons Module B4) to connect the worship of 
Zargon & his minions as another society of Hyperboreans lost to the annals of time. 

Anyhow more to come!

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